Morrisville Car Stop Leads to Meth-Lab Bust in Johnston
Posted September 25, 2007 5:55 p.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2007 5:53 a.m. EDT
Benson, N.C. — A traffic stop in Wake County overnight Monday led to a major drug bust in Johnston County on Tuesday.
Sheriff’s deputies and State Bureau of Investigation agents found a methamphetamine lab in a Benson home where a couple lived with their two children.
SBI crime-scene technicians, suited up in protective gear, carefully removed items that investigators said were used to make the drug.
“It’s extremely dangerous. We have no idea what's in these jugs. We have no idea what we're getting into,” Capt. Alex Fish said as material was taken out of the home.
The investigation started in Morrisville, when police pulled over a car driven by Julius Parker. Officers said they found more than 11 grams of methamphetamine in his car.
Then, through questioning, investigators learned there might be more drugs and weapons at Parker's house near Benson, they said.
Johnston deputies got a warrant, searched the home and found a working meth lab, they said.
“It’s not so much a large operation, but I think it’s an operation that has continued time and time again, and after a while it adds up to a large amount of dope,” Fish said.
Deputies also found Parker's wife, Carolyn, and Michael Ellis at the house and charged them with manufacturing methamphetamine. They said Julius Parker’s brother, Jamie Parker, also showed up at the home and was charged with possessing meth.
A 14-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were living in the midst of the operation, deputies said. Both went to stay with relatives.
“I am very surprised. It’s kind of scary that it’s right down the street from my house,” said neighbor Brittany Berrier.
Berrier stopped when she saw the crime tape deputies had put up. She said she'd been concerned about junk in the yard at the house, but never suspected a drug operation was going on.
“I've always wondered about [the house]. I didn't know what was going on, but I've always thought it was kind of run-down looking,” Berrier said.
Investigators said they found numerous weapons at the home. Parker is a convicted felon, so local authorities said they plan to seek federal weapons and drug charges in the case.
Overall, deputies said they've seen a significant drop in the number of meth labs in Johnston County since 2006, when a new law made it tougher to buy medications that contain pseudoephedrine, like Sudafed. Meth-makers use pseudoephedrine to derive some of their material.